Deflationism about truth is the claim that the concept of truth is completely explicated by the disquotational view of truth, where the latter is the specification of a device of semantic ascent that avoids the semantical paradoxes. Over the last twenty years, the plausibility of deflationism has been intensely debated by philosophers of language. A number of writers have argued that even though deflationism is a coherent view, it is false. Some maintain that this is because a complete account of (...) truth must reduce truth to purely physical concepts but that the disquotational view of truth provides no such reduction. Others hold that there are important uses of the truth predicate that cannot be assimilated to its use as a device of semantic ascent. (shrink)
The Didascalicon of Hugh of St. Victor encourages the study of many disciplines in order for the soul to acquire knowledge that aids in the restoration of human nature. However, according to Hugh's epistemology much of the acquired knowledge depends upon sensory qualities internalized as images which distract the soul and cause it to degenerate from its original unity. This essay explores the tension between Hugh's educational optimism and Hugh's epistemological pessimism. After considering and rejecting two unsuccessful strategies the soul (...) might pursue for avoiding degeneration and distraction, we shall utilize Hugh's non-representational conception of cognition to develop a plausible intellectual strategy. We shall also build upon some of Hugh's remarks about music to sketch a model of self-knowledge as a kind of proportionality in the soul. (shrink)
The Franciscan thesis maintains that the primary motive of the Incarnation is to glorify the triune God in the person of Jesus Christ: though Christ atones for human sins, his coming isn’t relative to our need for redemption but rather has an absolute primacy. The Franciscan thesis is sometimes associated with the counterfactual claim that Christ would have come even if humans hadn’t sinned. In recent work on the Franciscan thesis, an attempt is made to prove the counterfactual claim on (...) the basis of a purely logical argument drawn from the writings of Bl. John Duns Scotus. After showing that this proof fails, I construct an axiological argument for the Franciscan thesis that disentangles it from unsubstantiated counterfactual claims while respecting the subtle interplay between natural and revealed theology. I then provide a metaphysical interpretation of the axiological argument that builds upon Scotist notions. Seen through this interpretive lens, Scotus’s logical argument can be un. (shrink)
Mass incarceration has become a flashpoint in a number of recent political and public policy debates. Consensus about how to balance the just punishment of offenders with the humanitarian goal of providing inmates with genuine opportunities for reconciliation, rehabilitation, and reintegration into society is lacking. Unfortunately, a dualistic “us-versus-them” narrative surrounding these issues has become entrenched, occluding fruitful dialogue and obscuring our ability to see the detrimental effects that our nation’s punitive turn has created. In this essay, we affirm the (...) insights of Wacquant, Clear, and other sociologists and introduce a theological narrative of solidarity and vulnerability that undermines the “us-versus-them” dichotomy and opens up a path for cultivating a “we” community. (shrink)
Introduction -- Early Heidegger and scholasticism -- Heidegger's atheology of appropriation -- Heideggerian atheology and the Scotist causal argument -- Appropriation and the problem of sufficient comprehension -- Heidegger's atheology of nothingness -- Nothingness and the problem of possibility -- A positive application.
Using Martin Heidegger’s later philosophy as his springboard, Peter S. Dillard provides a radical reorientation of contemporary Christian theology. From Heidegger’s initially obscure texts concerning the holy, the gods, and the last god, Dillard extracts two possible non-metaphysical theologies: a theology of Streit and a theology of Gelassenheit. Both theologies promise to avoid metaphysical antinomies that traditionally hinder theology. After describing the strengths and weaknesses of each non-metaphysical theology, Dillard develops a Gelassenheit theology that ascribes a definite phenomenology to the (...) human encounter with divinity. This Gelassenheit theology also explains how this divinity can guide human action in concrete situations, remain deeply consonant with Christian beliefs in the Incarnation and the Trinity, and shed light on the Eucharist and Religious Vocations. Seminal ideas from Rudolf Otto and Ludwig Wittgenstein are applied at key points. Dillard concludes by encouraging others to develop an opposing Streit theology within the non-metaphysical, Heidegerrian framework he presents. (shrink)
In The Logical Basis of Metaphysics, Dummett articulates and develops his “fundamental assumption” that the introduction rules for a logical constant determine its meaning. According to Dummett, logical laws in harmony with the introduction rules are justified, while logical laws not in harmony with the introduction rules are unjustified. This powerful picture enables Dummett to criticise certain aspects of our linguistic practice, such as the Law of Excluded Middle and the metaphysics of realism he believes it embodies, as not remaining (...) responsible to the meanings of the logical constants. Against Dummett's fundamental assumption, I bring to bear what in the Tractatus Wittgenstein describes as his “fundamental thought” that the logical constants do not represent. Properly understood, Wittgenstein's point is that since the logical constants may be eliminated from the propositional signs of a fully precise logical notation, the constants do not express meanings to which our use of expressions containing the constants is responsible. I then apply Wittgenstein's fundamental thought to Dummett's proof‐theoretic notation to show that far from determining the meanings of the logical constants, the introduction rules merely allow the constants to be edited from certain inferences, leaving Dummett with no semantic kernel with which to criticise other sentences or inferences featuring the constants. Thus, his picture of what it is to make clear the working of our language collapses. (shrink)